We started with two supermarket muscats from Southern France. A Rivesaltes with an annoyingly punctuated name, Mu: is for Muscat (Waitrose) and a St Jean de Minervois (Sainsbury) . The former was dried tropical fruit and rose scented talc, the latter was fresh elderflower, but there was a spicy note in both. The Sainsbury bottle had a terrible whiff of cabbage about it when opened, but that was gone after an hour.
Then came two Chenins, one aged 27 and the other just 2 years old. The elder, Moulin Touchais Coteaux de Layon 1985, had lost interest in its original fruit character in favour of distinguished age, while the younger, Château de la Roulerie Coteaux de Layon Chaume 2010 complemented the typical green apple notes with a peachy touch and intense sweetness. In a double handful of sweet wines, this one seemed the sweetest by a country mile.
Very mellow, although still having enough smooth tannin to give it structure, the palate was in harmonious agreement with the nose. Lots of rich dried fruits, prunes, and red berries.There was a bitter note in the finish, but overall a very good to excellent wine, and a rare treat to have such an ancient.
Wine six was a surprise. Pure cherry juice, backed by cedar and meaty notes; Corte Sant'Alda Recioto della Valpollicella 2008 seemed very different from a previous tasting. Vintage variation or just age difference? I don't know.
The Mission Hill Reserve Riesling Icewine 2003 seemed very fresh. The nose was pure strawberry jam, but oddly the palate was very clear-cut pineapple juice - an unlikely combination of flavours, no? Not very Riesling-y, but very very lovely.
And after all that, as I say, the world sparkled.